Emergency Preparedness Tips
Emergencies always happen when you least expect them — a flash flood, power outage, or wildfire can happen just about anywhere. And, although you might think that you’re out of harm's way or that nothing could ever happen to you, millions of people are caught off guard every year by emergencies and natural disasters that either force them to evacuate or leave them stranded in their own homes.
Because you never know when or where an emergency could take place, your best defense is to make sure that you and your family are well-prepared should the unexpected happen. A well-thought-out plan and a plastic tote with some extra food and water and a survival hammock can go a long way in helping your family stay safe if you find yourself in an emergency.
Types of Emergencies
Dangerous and difficult situations happen every day. Sometimes the power may go out for a few hours during a storm. Other times, a winter storm may require you to work from home. But, when an incident arises that threatens your health and safety by potentially taking away your basic needs of water, food, or shelter, it’s considered an emergency.
Emergencies come in all shapes and forms, but the following are a few examples of the most common types:
- Power Outage
- Snow Storm
Creating a Home Emergency Plan
The best way to ensure your family’s safety and minimize the consequences of a natural disaster or other catastrophe is to take the time to prepare well in advance. When faced with an emergency, your ability to think clearly and react quickly will be your greatest defense. That’s why you shouldn’t wait for something bad to happen to propel you into action — set aside the time now and make creating an emergency preparedness plan a priority.
Know What To Expect
Every emergency is different, and there are different things you should do depending on the crisis you are in. That’s why it’s important to find out which disasters your area is most at risk for so you can plan accordingly.
Take a CPR Class
Being trained in how to administer CPR is something that everyone should do, but it’s especially important if you’re in an emergency situation. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and it involves several chest compressions followed by giving rescue breaths and repeating this cycle continuously until an ambulance arrives.
In life-threatening disaster situations, people are under extreme stress and have a higher rate of serious injury. If someone you know goes into cardiac arrest during a natural disaster or another emergency, the fire department or ambulance may not be able to get to you right away. Being able to provide CPR within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest until help arrives can significantly improve a person’s chance of survival.
Know Where To Go
If you are in imminent danger in your current location, it’s important to know where to go and what to do based on the type of emergency you are facing. Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For natural disasters like a tornado or earthquake, it’s usually safest to remain inside. In both instances, you’ll want to find shelter under a table or desk and make sure to stay clear of windows. In the event of a tornado, the basement or the lowest interior room of your home is the safest place.
In the event that you need to evacuate your home, you’ll need to know where to go and how to meet up with other family members in case you become separated. It’s best to designate two different meeting places — one near your home and one farther away. Make sure everyone in your household knows where to go and practice going to your safe place so there are no second thoughts if you need to escape quickly.
Learn How To Shut Off Utilities
Natural disasters come in all forms, and you may not always have an abundance of time before having to evacuate. Depending on your situation, if you do have the time, you may want to turn off the utilities. That’s because things like gas leaks and electrical sparks can make an already dangerous situation even worse. Making sure that you know how to turn off the utilities well before a disaster strikes is an important part of any emergency preparedness plan.
When you’re in an emergency, you’re not going to be thinking about finding your birth certificate or insurance card, but once you are in a place of safety, having access to some of your most critical documents will give you peace of mind and make the recovery process that much easier.
The best way to keep such documents safe and accessible is to first make a list of the critical items you want to have and then gather them up well before an emergency occurs. This should be part of your planning process. Take all of your necessary documents and place them in a small, fire-proof safe. That way, they will all be in one location and can be easily transported out of your home and taken with you in the event of an emergency.
Sign Up for Alerts and Warnings
One of the best ways to know if you’re in danger is to sign up to receive notifications through one or more alert systems. There are several available — the following are some of the most widely used.
State, City, or County Alerts
Many local jurisdictions have public alert warning systems. When you opt-in to receive notifications from them, they will send you an email or text message informing you of emergencies that pertain to your area.
Local News Stations
Many local news stations now offer a feature that allows you to get personalized text alerts sent directly to your phone. These alerts may include everything from breaking news and daily headlines to more critical emergency-related alerts related to weather, road closures, and more.
FEMA or the Federal Emergency Management Agency has an app that you can download that will keep you updated with severe weather alerts. In case of an emergency where you have to evacuate your home, you’ll be able to access driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System is FEMA's national system for sending local alerts and life-saving information to the public using the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, and other public alerting systems from a single interface.
Keep Everyone Connected
If disaster strikes in your area or if you’re forced to flee your home and are separated from your family, you’ll want to make sure that you can stay in communication. First, make sure that all family members have the necessary phone numbers both stored on their phone and written down and placed in a wallet or purse. Those lists should also include the numbers of family members, a hospital, police station, neighbor, and a trusted friend or relative who lives out of town.
Creating an Emergency Survival Kit
Part of your plan should include putting together an emergency survival kit. When disaster strikes, you may be stuck at home without water or power for several days. In some situations you may not be able to get to the store and emergency services may be tied up with the situation at hand. In these cases, you need to make sure that you have everything on hand and readily accessible so you can keep your family safe and healthy until the danger subsides or until you are able to get help.
When it comes to creating your survival kit, consider your most basic needs but also remember that if you need to flee your home, it should be small enough to be portable so it can fit in your vehicle or even be carried, if needed. Every kit will contain some of the most critical items (water, food, shelter) but some things will be unique to each family’s needs.
Water is going to be your biggest and most critical survival item. People often take water for granted, assuming that there will always be a way to access it. However, when an emergency strikes, your water may be turned off or you could be stranded in your car. Keep in mind if the emergency affects an entire town or region, hundreds or even thousands of people will likely be flocking to nearby stores to stock up. Even if you’re lucky enough to be able to get into your car and drive away from danger, you may not be able to just walk into a store and buy a case of water.
So, how much water should you plan to have on hand? A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person, per day. Aim to have a three-day supply if you’re evacuating your home and a two-week supply if you’re potentially going to be stranded at home.
Most people are so used to having food readily available whenever they want it that it can be hard to think about preparing for a situation where you are without it and completely vulnerable. Fortunately, putting together a small supply of emergency food is fairly simple to do. And, with little effort, you can ensure that you and your family will have plenty to sustain you if the unexpected happens.
The key here is to gather non-perishable food that is easy to prepare. Remember, you don’t know if you’ll have access to a refrigerator or stove, and your water supply might be limited. You can find pre-made meals that require no refrigeration, but they can be expensive, and creating your own food kit can be just as simple. The following are some of the best foods to pack away in your survival kit:
- Protein bars
- Peanut butter
- Canned soups
- Canned meats
- Dried fruit
- Powdered or canned milk
In addition to food and water, shelter is the third most important basic human need. You’ll want to make sure that you have the means to stay warm and dry should you have to leave your home. One way to do this is to pack blankets and sleeping bags, but on their own, they offer little to keep you protected from rain, wind, or insects. Bringing along a tent is one way to create your own shelter, but they can be cumbersome to carry and, depending on the situation, you may have to take refuge in areas that don’t have a large, flat, dry surface on which to pitch your tent.
A better option that will provide you with the most flexibility and functionality is a Hennessy survival hammock. Each one is lightweight, easy to pack, bugproof, windproof, and waterproof. They allow you to have your own shelter anytime you need it because you can tie them up just about anywhere — between two trees, cars, posts, and more. You can also group them together to create your own camp. More importantly, having a survival hammock for each family member will ensure that every person has their own shelter should they be separated from the group.
Additional Survival Kit Supplies
Having food, water, and shelter will be your primary concern when you’re in an emergency situation, but there are other items to consider that you won’t want to be without. Some of them include:
- Extra clothing and rain gear
- Prescription glasses
- Battery-operated or hand-crank radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Prescription medications
- First aid kit
Every family is different and will have unique needs. If you have an infant, pets, or someone in your family who requires special medication or other necessities, make sure to include any of those items in your kit as well.
Medical supplies — Pack things such as essential prescription medications, hearing aids with extra batteries, contact lenses, and syringes.
Baby supplies — Pack bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, and wipes
Pet supplies — Don’t forget about your four-legged family members! Pack your pet’s collar, leash, food, bowl, and carrier.
Go Through Your Survival Kit Once a Year
Once you put together your survival kit, it can be easy to place it in a closet and forget about it for several years. Although you may have completed a very important step in your emergency preparedness plan, it’s just as important to make a note to review what’s in your kit once a year.
On a certain date each year, go through your survival kit and replace any expired food items. Also, consider adding new items depending on how your family’s needs have changed. You might be able to remove the extra baby formula, but you may also have to add some extra food or a new type of medication.
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit
Some of the most common emergencies are ones that keep you stranded in your car. A winter snowstorm, flood, or other natural disasters could prevent you from being able to make it home or to a place of refuge. A normal drive can even turn into an emergency if you get a flat tire in a remote area and have no cell phone signal to call for help. That’s why it’s always a good idea to put together an emergency car kit as well. Having the right things with you can possibly get you back on the road again or at least keep you safe and comfortable if you can’t.
Here are some of the things to always have with you in your emergency car kit.
Food and Water
Just as you want to keep non-perishable foods and bottled water in your home survival kit, you should also keep a smaller amount of these essentials in your car. Things like protein bars and packets of peanut butter will go a long way in providing sustenance when you need it without taking up a lot of space in your vehicle.
In most cases, people will use their car for shelter if they are stranded, however, in some instances, you may have to abandon your vehicle to reach a place of safety. For these situations, you should consider carrying a Hennessy survival hammock with you at all times. It packs down small and offers significant insurance for your comfort and safety should you have to abandon your vehicle and go for help.
Other Essential Items
In addition to food, water, and shelter, there are other supplies you should always carry in your car that may help in the event of possible danger. Those items include:
- Battery or hand-crank powered radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Booster cables
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Small shovel
Always Be Prepared With Hennessy Hammock
Hennessy hammocks are popular with campers, backpackers, hunters, extreme adventurers, and more because they are lightweight, pack down small, and offer unique design features to help you stay safe and sleep comfortably. For these reasons, our survival hammocks are the perfect choice when assembling an emergency survival kit for your family.
Visit our website to learn more about the unique features of our hammocks that make them the best bugproof, waterproof, windproof shelter you can find. Our handy hammock comparison chart is also helpful for finding the perfect survival hammock for your needs.
Don’t get caught in an emergency unprepared — shop Hennessy to order your survival hammock today!